Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Second Department

Organizational Studies

Reader 1

Lance Neckar

Reader 2

Barbara Junisbai

Reader 3

Melinda Herrold-Menzies

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Rights Information

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This thesis analyzes the current state of High-Speed Rail (HSR) development within the United States and the reasoning behind its historical failure. Through frameworks such as funding and organizational structure of public or private entities (or both), this paper focuses on three case studies: The Northeast Corridor Improvement Project, Florida’s Brightline, and the California High-Speed Rail Project. With an additional scope of organizational studies, this thesis assesses the current state of HSR within the U.S. and considers approaches that could work best, given well-documented hindrances. Although originally hypothesized that a public-private partnership would be the most successful strategy for U.S. HSR projects, the Florida Brightline’s overall achievements as a privately-owned and operated HSR proved otherwise. Applying knowledge gained through the global perspective on HSR infrastructure, along with an in-depth look at the main attempts at HSR within the U.S., this thesis provides a critical understanding of the future of HSR and whether or not it is the right choice for improving U.S. transportation.